FORMER Parkhead hero Marc Rieper believes Celtic must push the boat out for former West Ham team-mate Slaven Bilic as the uncertainty continues over who will be in charge next season.

Media reports in 2010 quoted Bilic as saying he would walk to Glasgow if he had an invite to manage one of the Old Firm.

Rieper has kept a close eye on the Croatian footballing legend since his departure from East London and believes they would be a perfect match.

“I’ve spoken to him before about Celtic being a massive club and he’s really aware of that. I think he’d fit the bill there.

“Slaven would fit in at any club in Europe, I think he’s a really good manager and he’s a really nice person.


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“He’s proven himself both in Croatia and in the Premier League. I think West Ham were premature getting rid of him but that’s the way it goes if you lose a few games.

“Slaven’s tremendously passionate about football. I spoke to him a few times when he was at West Ham and Croatia and I think he plays a style of football that would suit Celtic really well.

“He’s been good in the transfer market, getting good players in for fair money and speaks several languages. He’s a very nice and educated man.

“Obviously he would demand a decent salary but I’m sure he’d be fair. He’s a guy who is not flashy about money, it’s more about what kind of job it is.”

The big Dane formed a formidable defensive pairing with Bilic during their West Ham days and thinks the World Cup semi finalist has qualities that set him apart in modern-day football.

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“He was very verbal as a player and was captain material. He could boss players around him and we formed a really good partnership, leading from the back. It’s very easy for him as well because he’s fluent in so many languages, so if you’ve got a new Spanish guy or Italian guy coming in who is struggling with the language that’s not a problem for Slaven. It’s a big bonus for managers. You always get a better feeling when you can speak to players without it being translated by another guy.”

Rieper played a crucial part in the Wim Jansen squad that ended Rangers' 10-in-a-row hopes and thinks Bilic would be better off leading Celtic to the holy grail of 10 consecutive titles than taking on the Scotland job, a position the 50-year-old Croat has been linked with.

"With Scotland it’s very difficult, you’ve got the players you’ve got. I’m not saying they’re bad players but you can’t go out and get three or four players for positions you think are weak. He could form his own ideas a lot better in club football than in the Scottish job.”